Dear Readers for Jan. 1, 2009

I don’t make a lot of New Year’s Resolutions, but I do always make at least one. I mean, it just seems kind of vain to look at a time that heralds new beginnings, a new start and say, “No, thanks. I really don’t need any improving.”

I need lots of improving. Still, I limit my self-improvement list to one, possibly two. And I always make at least one of them something I will get a lot of joy out of accomplishing, even if I only hold to it for a few months.

Sometimes it is something vitally important but still enjoyable, like “Spend more time with friends.” That’s a great resolution, and I have, from time-to-time, made that one. I think that is going to be my second resolution this year, because I have some dear, dear friends who have been totally neglected as my busy work schedule has increased. It’s one of those resolutions that is good for the soul and for a balanced life.

My first resolution, however, is a bit more mundane and practical. I am going to resolve to keep my car clean.

Not on the outside. I will probably still allow the rain and an occasional jaunt through a self-service car wash to do that. I’m talking the inside.

My husband, Neville, says my car looks like my purse. Actually, it’s a lot worse than my purse, because I carry a small, compact little purse that can’t get too junky. The car is a rolling suitcase.

I love my car. Chrissy the Chrysler was my first non-mommy car in a long, long time. When the big Chevy conversion van was way past the 100,000 mile mark, it became obvious that the empty nest no longer required a car that could -- and did -- carry half the soccer team. Chrissy is big enough, but not van-sized.

I probably kept Chrissy clean for a little while, although I have always “lived in” my car. When we started Blount Today, however, any hope of Chrissy being neat seemed to go out the window. I haul papers in Chrissy. I pick up inserts and deliver them in Chrissy. I keep mail bins filled with back issues in her. There’s a Blount Today banner in the trunk, next to a box of Blount Today koozies and half a box of Blount Today balsa wood airplanes -- leftover from the Smoky Mountain Classic in July.

But lately, the inside of Chrissy has progressed beyond the “hauling things in the trunk” stage. I spend a lot of time rushing here-and-there, and everything in between seems to end up in Chrissy.

I have a complete change of clothes in the car plus my seldom-used workout clothes. I have a portable curling iron, toothbrush, hairbrush, make-up bag and emergency make-up mini-bag in case I forget the make-up bag. I have aspirin, Pepto, safety pins, paper clips, Band-Aids, a lint brush, wrapping paper, tape and bows. I have the last two issues of Skirt! magazine, last three issues of Knoxville magazine, an old Business Journal with a story earmarked I haven’t had time to read yet and no less than 40 copies -- current and back issues -- of Blount Today.

In addition to the six CDs in the changer, I have six more that haven’t made it inside the house yet, a DVD meant for my son, an umbrella, four chairs, a flat tire that the tire store didn’t recycle when I bought a new one and a flip-chart with collapsible easel.

There are two Dr. Seuss books and a Dora the Explorer book in case a school teacher or librarian should call on the spur of the moment to invite me to read to the children. There’s gum, breath mints, Splenda and Crystal Light tea packets to shake into my water. Somewhere in the trunk are three boxes of Powerbars.

There are two extra pairs of earrings that I kept on hand before I got my ears pierced because I was forever walking out of the office with one clip-on earring on and one by the phone at my desk. There’s a leopard throw-rug that I bought for a photo shoot, six AA-batteries, an empty camera bag, three Reporter’s Notebooks and 14 Blount Today manila-size envelopes leftover from my last trip to take subscriptions to Goin’ Postal. I have no idea how many pens can be found in the side pockets and lodged under seats.

In addition, there’s a min-bale of grass in the front floor because I take the shortest route from the door at my house and track in all those brown Bermuda grass clippings my husband slaves over.

Yes, Chrissy is a mess. She is certainly deserving of a New Year’s Resolution. I wonder how she would feel about pulling a small trailer filled with all my stuff?

Happy New Year, and may all your resolutions be filled with joyous promise.

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